When LeBron James and the Miami Heat communicate effectively, they usually can’t be beat.
That seemed to be the case again Christmas Day when the defending NBA champions survived a rematch with the team they beat in the 2012 NBA Finals.
It also was a fine time for Mario Chalmers to have a big night with 20 points and four 3-pointers.
James wound up with 29 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in leading the Heat past the Oklahoma City Thunder
103-97 in a rematch of the NBA Finals in June.
The Thunder took it down to the last seconds and gave the Heat a major push. But the Heat also pulled out all the defensive stops to get the win and show it’s not going to be easy in denying this team a second straight title. Russell Westbrook struggled against the Miami defense, hitting only 5-of-19 shots from the floor.
Chalmers had one of his better shooting nights in awhile with an 8-of-14 clip from the floor and 4-of-8 in 3-point attempts.
At halftime, when his team had a 54-48 lead, James said his team’s energy level and communication was exceptional.
“We’re doing a good job of communicating,” he said. “We have to keep it up.”
They also didn’t do a bad job of free-throw shooting, 19-of-19.
Kevin Durant had a big night for the Thunder with 33 points but missed a triple that would have tied the game in the closing seconds.
The Heat have now won six straight over the Thunder since last season and simply do what champions always do:
Enough to win.